Donate to charity? More taxpayers can deduct donations in 2021 under IRS pandemic rule – Daily Democrat


In a normal year – and no, we haven’t had one recently – only the small minority of those who detail their tax returns can deduct charitable donations.

This year, however, most people can take a break from donating money to charity, whether they itemize or not.

The Internal Revenue Service joined several nonprofit groups on Monday, December 13 to raise awareness of a special pandemic tax provision that can help the 85% of people who don’t retail get a tax credit for their largesse.

The Rules: You must donate to a good faith charity that has exempt status with the IRS. You can check if the organization you want to donate to is eligible at https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search.

Most individuals can get a deduction of up to $ 300 for charitable donations, and married couples who jointly file a claim can claim up to $ 600. Donations must be made before December 31st.

At a time when many charities are still battling the pandemic, and tornadoes have claimed dozens of lives in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, this pandemic provision can help, said IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino.

Almost 2.7 million detailed Californians took $ 28.6 billion in charitable deductions in 2019, according to the most recent data available. This represented 1.7% of adjusted gross income.

Proceed with caution

Charities are in high gear this time of year, as are bad actors calling on people’s best angels.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta has issued several scam alerts this holiday season. To truly help those in need, people need to make sure their contributions go to legitimate organizations. In addition to the IRS site, people can check the California Charitable Trust Registry at https://bit.ly/3oTLYCI.

A woman puts money into a Salvation Army red kettle outside the Hobby Lobby store in Laguna Niguel. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

Bonta and other experts offer these other great tips:

  • Do a little research. Websites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar can help you determine how much the charity spends on its primary mission, and how much pays employee compensation and fundraising costs itself. The most effective charities spend at least 75% of their budgets on basic programs and services.
  • Do not be shy. If you’re tempted to donate to a charity you don’t know, ask for written information about their programs and finances. Confirm its name, address and association status.
  • Beware of social media fundraisers. If a message takes you to heart, ask additional questions, such as the percentage of donations that go straight to the web platform’s pocket and the percentage that actually goes to charity. Also find out if you will be paying a fee for the convenience of donating online.
  • Stand firm in the face of pressure. Telemarketers can be aggressive. If you get a call asking for donations, make sure you get the name of the fundraising organization itself and ask if it is registered with the Attorney General’s office as a commercial fundraiser – they are supposed to be. Get the charity’s name – beware of familiar sounding names that claim to benefit veterans, firefighters, and law enforcement – and ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much to the telemarketer. Check with the charity before donating to make sure they’ve actually used the telemarketer’s services and that their name isn’t being used as a scam. If someone offers to come and collect a donation immediately, hang up.
  • Pay special attention to disaster fundraisers. There are always fraudsters who want to capitalize on the desire to help people. Even during a crisis, be sure to take your time researching a charity before you donate.
  • Be skeptical if someone thanks you for a donation you can’t remember. It is an age-old lure.
  • (iStockphoto)

  • Protect your identity. Never give out your social security number or other personal information to a charity or fundraiser. Never share credit card information with an unknown and uncontrolled organization.
  • Giving directly to an approved charity online is the most efficient way to give – no middleman, no cost.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your money, visit oag.ca.gov/donations. To file a complaint, go to oag.ca.gov/charities/complaints.


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